This time last week, Jess and I were trying to figure out what to do and where to go as Hurricane Florence's projected path was anything but predictable. We didn't know if it made more sense to go North, West or South because Florence basically doing the cha-cha slide gaining strength to become a potential category four storm. As I am from the Outer Banks and have survived terrible category one and twos, we weren't about to see what category four would be like in our hometown of Wilmington, N.C. During all the projections, the one constant seemed to be landfall between Atlantic Beach and Wilmington so we knew that much and decided to make a spontaneous decision to evacuate to Nokomis, Florida. We have a dear friend whose dad has a rental property in Florida so we took him up on his offer and tried to rally our families to come with us. To no avail on our persuasion skills, we ended up just packing up two weeks worth of clothes and our fur-baby Belle and taking the 9 hour trek to the Sunshine state by ourselves. Jess and I made the last minute decision to leave N.C. because we knew with the size of this hurricane, everyone was going to be affected no matter what direction it took.
It has been heartbreaking seeing all that has been going on in Wilmington and surrounding areas and watching our loved ones struggle through 4 days of no power, downed trees and damaged property. However, we are so grateful to hear everyone is safe-and-sound so far. Between rising flood waters and bands of storms packing tornadoes, we know it's not over 'till it's over. Jess and I are unable to get back into Wilmington due to the rivers surrounding Wilmington being at a record all-time high. Wilmington is essentially an island. At one point, the only way there was by boat or plane. We have decided since we own no property yet and we are both able to work from home— to let the first responders and linemen do their thing before we come home. We have felt so grateful that were able to evacuate at a low-cost because we know that's not the opportunity that everyone has. That's why we've been low-key about where we've been for the last six days.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say you've probably gotten enough of destruction photos from North Carolina so I wanted to share some images from Jess and I's stay in Nokomis, Florida. Fun fact, Florida basically calls Summer, the Winter down here so there is hardly anyone here. Nokomis rests on the gulf side just South of Sarasota and here happens to be where the Red Tide is—meaning floating dead fish everywhere. This is what the Florida coast line goes through after prolonged periods of warm weather and warm water generate disease through bloomed algae called —it ultimately prevents oxygen supply to the animals of the sea so they suffocate slowly to death and end up upside down on the surface of the water. The toxic algae bloom has been killing marine life and apparently triggering respiratory issues among some residents and Gov. Rick Scott has been pouring funding into resolutions and cleanup for the Red Tide. Residents are getting increasingly frustrated for clean water. We have been blown away with how much this affects the sea-side towns and how it affects the fishing, the tourism and even the few residents that are here. Apparently it's been the worst this year than it has been in a long time. Usually lasting three weeks, this year the Red Tide has been spanning three months and counting.
Jess and I tried to go 25 miles south and see if there was any pools of unaffected areas but didn't have much luck except a few catfish. While the water is slowly regaining its blue color, it's still very much a graveyard of the sea animals. We didn't take any photos of that because it's just truly disturbing, but this goes to tell you that everywhere in the world, there are places dealing with their little environmental crisis. For Florida, it's the tide, for North Carolina, it is the hurricane. At the end of the day, you just gotta remember we have a lot to be grateful for. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful, safe and strong country like America.
Huge thanks to the Schlegel family for giving us a home away from home for the last six days. Thank you to our friends, neighbors and family that have been checking on our home. We can't wait to get back and start our road to recovery back in Wilmington, NC. Wilmington, let us know what you need us to bring. Stay tuned.